Movie buffs get ‘Reel’ in limelight | ParkRecord.com

Movie buffs get ‘Reel’ in limelight

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

A funny war movie is hard to make, especially without the guile of Bill Murray and John Candy in "Stripes."

The difficulty of the task didn’t stop Harrison Bevins, a senior at Park City High School, from making "Shell Shock." The six-minute short leavens scenes of modern warfare with a boy’s day dreams and uses simple special effects for laughs.

But it’s the story that really sells it.

"I’ve really tried to pound home the idea of telling a story," says teacher Christopher Maddux. "I think you’ll see that this year."

The New Reel Short Film Competition, in tandem with The Miners’ Film Festival, gives film festival treatment to student filmmakers at PCHS. The festival has been running for three years and has been composed almost entirely of high school students.

But for the first time this year, students from Treasure Mountain International School made the cut thanks, in part, to a new screenwriting class offered at the junior high taught by Maddux’s wife, Sharon.

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George Dymalski and five other panelists from the Park City Film Series selected the shorts, which are set to screen at 7 p.m. in the Jim Santy Auditorium on Wednesday. They vetted more than three hours worth of footage for the competition. Only half made the cut. "We try to let the kids know what works, and what doesn’t," Dymalski said. "The story is key and this year, the stories were really strong."

The fare is particularly impressive considering that the swine flu delayed some of the projects, which students in good-humored exasperation, coined the "swine-cation."

Besides bragging rights, the winner receives $500. Second prize is $300 and third $200. For some students, the project is the capstone to years making movies, writing and acting, but it’s hardly a final act. Some, like Bevins and senior Todd Rihau, have already been accepted to college film programs.

Jack Burrus, a junior at PCHS, will apply in the fall. "I want to go to film school so badly," he said. As if to prove it, he entered five films in the competition; three of them will screen on Wednesday.

Burrus, who lists his favorite movies as "V for Vendetta" and "Crash," said entering the festival has been a learning process. His film, ‘Highway 121,’ is a horror movie about friends who get lost on a road. "You’ll have to come to see how it turns out," he teased.

Come to a free screening of student films May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Jim Santy Auditorium. The New Reel Short Film Competition in conjunction with The Miners’ Film Festival.